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    Indian classical singing retreat in Woodstock with Nirmalya Dey (NY) 9-14 June 2017


    We are holding our first Dhrupad classical singing retreat in the charming, historic and famous arts town of Woodstock, nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Catskill Mountains, two hours north of New York City by bus or car.

    Join us for five days of intense music practice, in which the art of Dhrupad singing will be taught by master musician Pandit Nirmalya Dey. Pandit Mohan Shyam Sharma, one of India’s leading Pakhawaj (double headed drum) players, will give instruction in the basic rhythm patterns used in Dhrupad music.

    The workshop will be open to a limited number of participants to ensure an intimate setting, with room for individual attention. Men and women will receive separate instruction, except during the early morning practice when we will sit together.

    Part 1. Friday June 9 (3 PM) until Monday June 12 (1 PM) $295
    Part 2. Monday June 12 (3 PM) until Wed (June 14 (1 PM) $195
    Those who take the complete 5-day retreat pay $450
    (These rates include breakfast and a fresh veg lunch.)

    The retreat will be taught in a charming spacious local house at 21 Witchtree Rd, Woodstock, NY 12498

    Saturday evening (June 10) there will be a full length Dhrupad concert at Woodstock Yoga Center featuring our teachers ($20 not included in the retreat price).

    Below an example of what the retreat schedule will look like. Exact schedule to follow.

    Kharaj voice culture for all: 7.00-8.30 AM
    Breakfast and rest: 8.30-10.00 AM
    Women’s morning session: 10 to 11 AM (personal practice Men)
    Men’s morning session: 11 to 12 Noon (personal practice women)
    Lunch, rest, private tuition: 12 Noon to 3 PM (options for extra private tuition)
    Men’s evening session: 3 to 4 PM (personal practice Women)
    Women’s evening session: 4 to 5 PM (personal practice Men)

    What is Dhrupad

    Dhrupad is the oldest surviving form of classical Hindustani music. Its origins can be traced back to the chanting of Vedic Hymns and Mantras in temples in ancient times. From this early chanting, millenniums ago, Dhrupad evolved into the sophisticated classical form of music that it is today.
    The nature of Dhrupad is spiritual; seeking not to entertain, but to induce feelings of peace and contemplation. Primarily Dhrupad is a form of worship (aradhana), in which offerings are made to the divine through sound (nada).

    Who is this retreat for?

    This retreat is for anyone who has an interest in Indian classical music and who wishes to increase her/his musicality through this sacred art form. This is a rare opportunity to spend many hours studying the specifics of one selected Indian raga, thereby increasing the ability of deep listening and exploring the sound of your own voice. Participants will be instructed according to their own unique experience and abilities, making the retreat suitable for both beginners and advanced practitioners.practitioners.


    A typical day will begin with a 1,5 hour session of nada yoga and training of the voice.
    In the daytime men and women will work separately on learning the characteristics of a specific raga. We will analyze in-depth one of the more prominent Indian ragas, familiarizing ourselves with the alaap (long and slow meditative introduction of the notes used in this specific raga), and the faster fixed composition, in which the rhythmic element is introduced.

    As rhythm is an essential aspect of Indian classical music, students will learn to ‘clap’ some of the most important rhythmic patterns used in Dhrupad compositions. For those with a special interest in drumming Pdt Mohan Shyam Sharma will be available for private pakhawaj lessons, and drums will be available. Please contact us for more information on this.

    Location: Woodstock

    There are many nearby places of scenic interest including Kaaterskill Falls, Opus 40 sculpture park and KTD Buddhist Monastery.
    Woodstock has been long revered as a center for the arts, and has been a magnet for creative musicians since the days Bob Dylan and other well known musicians made their homes here, recording many iconic songs and albums. The bucolic landscape of rolling hills, meandering streams and pristine lakes have provided a peaceful and inspiring location for painters, sculptors and musicians since the days when Hervey White’s groundbreaking Byrdcliffe Colony of the Arts was established in the early 20th century. Participants traveling from afar might consider extending their stay to take advantage of all that the area has to offer.


    Healthy fresh vegetarian breakfasts and lunches will be served. A complimentary coffee/tea station will be freely available at all times. Specific dietary requests can be catered for, but must be arranged by email with us in advance.


    For participants coming from outside of the area there are many great airbnb’s, hotels and guesthouses nearby. We suggest you reserve soon as this is a very popular area for vacations on the weekends due the wonderful local scenery healthy fresh air and nice relaxed atmosphere. We can bring participants together who wish to share a house. Camping is also possible at one of several sites nearby. We will arrange for a pick up from your place to the retreat house and back

    Getting here

    Buses from NYC Port Authority Bus terminal (2hrs) and Albany Bus terminal (1hr) stop in the nearby town of Kingston 9 miles away from Woodstock. There are buses from Kingston to Woodstock which take approx. 30 mins (
    There is also a frequent Amtrak train service (1 hr 35min) from NYC Penn Station that stops in Rhinecliff (a forty minute drive away from Woodstock).
    Local taxis to and from Kingston and Rhinecliff are available. (…)
    Nearest airports are Stewart in Newburgh (46 miles away) and Albany (53 miles), JFK (122 miles), La Guardia (105 miles) and Newark NJ (104 miles).
    Transfers from the town center to the retreat house will be provided on arrival (but all other transport during the retreat to/from Woodstock town is the participant’s responsibility).

    Links to our teachers

    Pandit Nirmalya Dey and Pandit Mohan Shyam Sharma

    Organized by

    Martin Brading ( and Lilian van Dam (
    Phone: +1 (212) 255 – 6171 Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.


    (From the Dhrupad retreat Varanasi 2016)
    “I have explored different styles of Indian music before, but in Dhrupad I felt you can really experience the resonance of each swara, each note. I was drawn by the precision, the purity and the meditative aspect that other kinds of music don’t necessarily capture to that degree (…) I think its amazing how Dhrupad can create such a rich and full experience with just a few gestures, a few notes (…) you can almost forget yourself inside one note, as if it’s going on for ever and ever, always revealing something deeper (…) I had practiced Dhrupad before but never in a group so I thought this would be a good experience and it has been.” (Rudy from Boston)

    “I decided a workshop is the best way to get a lot of information, so now I have enough material, but I found the most important thing is the inspiration, how to practice and what mood to practice with.” (Anya from Belarus)

    “This kind of group format is very intensive but also very inspiring and encouraging.” (Andrei from Russia)

    “Dhrupad studies not only help you as a musician but also as a human being (…) I think it’s amazing that you can come with people you don’t know but you feel connected because this tradition is actually connecting you (….) in the retreat setting you can fully concentrate, you don’t need to worry about the rest of the world, you just focus on the music and you can learn faster that way.” (Indré from Lithuania)

    “My background is in western music, and I found studying Dhrupad has improved my all-round musical skills, increasing my ability to listen on a deep level, becoming more and more receptive (…) Nirmalya Dey has given so much and has been so patient (…) It’s been amazing how much I have learned and improved over the course of the workshop.” (Lilian from the Netherlands)


    Friday June 9 (3 PM) – Monday June 12 1 PM $295
    Monday (3 PM) June 12 – Wed June 14 1 PM $195
    Complete 5-day retreat Friday- Wed $450
    (These rates include breakfast and a fresh veg lunch.)


    Payment deposit part 1: $50,00
    Payment deposit part 2: $35,00
    Payment deposit when you join part 1 and part 2: $80,00

    The rest of the fee is due on the first day of your arrival.

    We look forward to welcome you!

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